A shiver of dread poured down my spine when my daughter, who wilfully skipped into second class this year, declared that she had homework on the 3rd day of school. It was Monday. It was still August. And I had somehow gotten it into my head that there would be no homework for at least a few weeks to let the kids settle back into school. But I was wrong.
I could easily argue my points against homework, but the fact of the matter is that homework remains a dynamic aspect of our children’s education. So, for most of us who are unlucky enough to have a school that has not opted out of homework, we must roll with it.
This is easier said than done when the after-school meltdown still has a role to play when our kids pour through the front door, dropping school bags, kicking off shoes, and collapsing in a heap after their overly stimulating and tiring day.
How can we make homework less stressful for our kids?
From my experience of watching and helping my little one work through her homework, she'll leave the table to find a rubber, get a drink, find the perfect colour purple, or her copybook with the unicorn sticker. Her attention is constantly being pulled, making twenty minutes of homework turn into forty-five. Being organised helps her to stay focused and mentally prepare for her homework. This means pre-empting and having everything she needs to hand.
Avoid screens, distracting noises, and anything which can pull their attention away from homework. Unfortunately, it is impossible to avoid all kinds of distractions, especially if younger kids blitz about the house. To help our kids concentrate, choose a time when other kids are occupied and before you need to bang the pots making dinner.
Location, Location, Location
The kitchen table is our designated homework space. It’s bright, relatively quiet, and she has the freedom to spread out. The routine of having her books and materials prepped at the same spot and usually at the same time of day helps create a habit. Ideally, a distraction-free space is preferable, but distraction is inevitable in a house with younger kids. Knowing how to limit those distractions in a comfortable space is key in creating a less stressful homework routine.
Lend A Helping Hand
Every child learns at their own pace and in their own time. However, they may have questions or need support with specific aspects of their homework. Encourage them to ask for help by letting them know you are available to lend a helping hand.
Snacks And Drinks
Finally, you can never go wrong by ensuring there is a healthy snack and drink beside them.